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Waitangi Tribunal asked to review Auckland SHA

SOUL Press Release, 14 December 2015: Waitangi Tribunal asked to review Auckland SHA

An application for an urgent inquiry into the Special Housing Area (SHA) at Ihumātao, Māngere and into the Special Housing Area Act itself was filed with the Waitangi Tribunal week.

SOUL’s Counsel Cameron Hockly advised today that the Tribunal have registered the claim as Wai 2547 and the Crown now has until 11 January 2016 to respond.

The application is believed to be the first legal challenge to the SHA legislation through the Waitangi Tribunal and was filed by founding members of the SOUL campaign who whakapapa to the area, to Makaurau Marae and to Ngāti Te Ahiwaru.

Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL) is a campaign group fighting to stop a 480-­unit housing development on a block of unique, rural land adjacent to the Māori village at Ihumātao and to the Ōtuataua Stonefields Historic Reserve.

The land was granted Special Housing Area status in 2014.

On land designated as Special Housing Areas, housing developments can be fast tracked without public consultation and without full RMA environmental protections.

There is no requirement to consult with Māori.

SOUL has provided evidence to the Waitangi Tribunal that this breaches the partnership stipulated in the Treaty.

The SOUL application asks the Tribunal to consider that the Special Housing Areas Act breaches the Treaty of Waitangi for the following reasons:

The SHA was created without proper consultation with the tangata whenua of Ihumātao

There has been no provision for the protection of sacred sites and other taonga associated with the land at Ihumātao

The development will undermine the guardianship or kaitiaki role of the Ihumātao residents in relation to the land The historical and cultural importance of Ihumātao has been widely recognised by Māori, Pākeha, archaeologists and historians.

The land in question was wrongfully confiscated in 1863 as punishment of local Māori for their involvement in the Kīngitanga movement.

The Māori King Movement or Kīngitanga arose among some of the Māori tribes of New Zealand in the central North Island in the 1850s, to establish a role similar in status to that of the monarch of the British colonists, as a way of halting the alienation of Māori land.

Since confiscation, the land remained in the ownership of the Wallace family until the recent conditional sale to Fletcher Residential.

However, the local iwi maintain strong links to the land, including kaitiakitanga and mana whenua status, and they make up the majority of Ihumātao, the village of 87 dwellings adjacent to the farm that is the contested site of SHA 62.

The historic Waitangi Tribunal report on the Manukau Harbour was heard at Makaurau Marae in 1985.

At that time the Tribunal commented, “We are frankly appalled by the events of the past and by the effect they have had on the Manukau tribes."

Many of the recommendations of that report Tribunal are still to be implemented.

The Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act was developed under budget secrecy rules with no consultation with any affected parties outside Government.

It was passed under urgency.

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